With this article I have tried to lay out just a few simplistic but realistic ways in which we can go about challenging the ways that the dominant power structures of society infiltrate the psychedelic community. It is up to each of us as individuals to take these steps further if we wish to see real change at a fundamental level. This includes educating ourselves in addition to being pro-active in struggles that we are passionate about.
The idea of ingesting a drug to combat addiction to another substance may seem strange to some, to others, even heretical. There is however an ever growing body of research to back up the use of certain drugs for combating addiction, and the most promising of these are the psychedelics. These substances are well suited to this task, in that they are of very low toxicity and safe when administered in a therapeutic context, and they are not addictive.
Without disregarding the urgent need for an ecologically minded culture, I would like to make the point that the environmental issues that we face today are one in the same as the systems of racism, patriarchy, and classism that have come to dominate our lives, and that our efforts towards creating an all-inclusive and sustainable psychedelic revolution are moot points if we fail to recognize how entrenched we are in the dominant power structures of society.
Psilocybin has a long history of use by humanity, and has been revered as a powerful medicine and ally for a very long time. Modern science is confirming and building upon ancient wisdom to allow us to better understand this amazing and highly multifaceted molecule, in order that we can better utilize its tremendous capacity to heal people.
Forty-three years after the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances imposed global prohibition on psychedelic compounds, demarcating governmental efforts to end the first psychedelic revolution, a second major psychedelic awakening is underway. Set amidst the landscape of late capitalism, this resurgence is unfolding in the forms of renewed focus on sanctioned research, the emergence of significant underground psychedelic research, and the rhizomorphic spread of global festival cultures.
With the continued rise in popularity of psychedelic plant medicines, concerns surrounding sustainable harvesting methods and safe administration by practitioners are growing. The Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assuring the sustainable and safe use of traditional plants and enriching the communities who work with them.
As the global demand for entheogenic medicines grows, we are seeing a simultaneous rise in unsustainable harvesting, poaching, and related ecological damage. The question we, as responsible explorers of expanded consciousness, should be asking is, “What are the hidden costs associated with my personal path of healing through medicine work?”
I took the Nexian, Spice Sailor, to see a very special and pristine nature reserve in a national park where there were large mother seed trees of Acacia obtusifolia. We went simply to enjoy the presence of the trees and the bush. This was a sacred site, too sensitive to touch, I would have thought. To our dismay, every single mature tree was either dead or dying.
An interesting take on the recent study that found psilocybin actually decreases brain activity in certain regions, the connection this has with other instances of decreases leading to expanded awareness, and the possible implications for materialist interpretations of consciousness. It also highlights how it is necessary to read the studies themselves, as interpretations by journalists and media can at times be quite inaccurate.
We can collectively dream of worlds that surpass our wildest individual imaginings and bring them into being year-after-year—and we do. Is it really less conceivable that we could take actions in our daily lives to challenge the systems and structures that seek to deny us access to that which we need to survive?